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Animal Cruelty Laws Lack in Punishment in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss.- A man in Tennessee shot his dog and lit him on fire. That was classified as a felony charge, but in Mississippi that would have only been a misdemeanor charge. Why aren’t Mississippi’s animal cruelty laws more severe? 

The penalties for neglect and dog fighting are the same in Mississippi; a fine of between $10 and $100 or jail time for between 10 and 100 days. Someone who maliciously injures or kills a dog or cat cannot be fined more than $1,000 or imprisoned for more than six months. The only restitution required is the replacement value of the animal, plus the cost of any veterinary fees or other expenses incurred. However, in California, a state with tougher penalties, dog fighting is punishable by imprisonment for 16 months to three years with a maximum fine of $50,000 or both.

Peta’s Senior Cruelty Case Worker Kristin Simon said, “Some states lag behind others when it comes to updating and strengthening their laws regarding cruelty to animals and if folks are concerned about the weakness of your animal laws then you should contact your legislatures and request the laws be updated and strengthened.”

Many people in the state believe the law wasn’t changed or updated because it would effect the way farmers put down their animals, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“If a farmer has to put down an animal because they are sick or injured that is a mercy and that’s nothing someone should be upset about.” Simon said, “The issue is that big industries like meat, dairy and agriculture businesses are very sensitive to what the public thinks about what they’re doing with their animals because it could effect how they’re allowed to treat their animals and it could cost them money in the long run to treat their animals more humanely so they don’t want those laws changed.”

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